Press Release

DeSantis attack on educators’ freedom will hurt kids, parents: Weingarten

For Release:


Alexis Lopez

WASHINGTON—American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten issued the following statement responding to the introduction of Florida Senate Bill 256:

“This noxious attack on the freedom of Florida’s teachers, staff and professors to join together and work together will irrevocably harm the children and communities they serve. We have all watched Gov. Ron DeSantis abandon the conservative notion of limited government, but in this session, he appears fixated on stripping away freedoms and silencing those who have raised doubts about his policies. These authoritarian edicts are in the style of dictators, not a U.S. governor.

“DeSantis talks about freedom a lot—but it appears it means freedom for those he agrees with, including the rich and powerful who fund him. He has signed laws that criminalize educators for maintaining classroom libraries and that punish them from teaching honest history, while banning books on Rosa Parks and Roberto Clemente. He has appointed extremists to school and college boards. And now, he’s assaulting educators’ freedom to join a union.

“Teachers, school support staff and higher education faculty show up every single day to help kids learn reading, math, science, music, critical thinking and life skills. While DeSantis destabilizes and divides, educators are working with parents to create public schools where parents want to send their kids, educators want to teach and kids thrive. They need a pay raise and support, not additional obstacles. In the effort to use state laws to silence them, DeSantis is putting his personal political ambitions over what’s best for Florida.”

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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.